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Vol. 81/No. 5      February 6, 2017

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SWP: Victory for Puerto Rico, all working people

The following message to Puerto Rican independence fighter Oscar López Rivera was sent Jan. 21 by Osborne Hart, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of New York.

Dear Oscar,

The Jan. 17 commutation of your sentence is a victory for the people of Puerto Rico and all those around the world who fought for your freedom. It’s a testament to your intransigent resistance, courage and dignity in the face of 35 years of imprisonment by Washington. This victory strengthens working people in Puerto Rico, the U.S. and all those fighting against imperialist domination worldwide. We joined the celebration here in New York when we heard the news and will celebrate with tens of thousands more when you walk out the prison doors.

We hail and will join the 35 Women’s protest here in Times Square Jan. 29 and every month until you are free. We must remain vigilant!

The U.S. capitalist “justice” system acts in the interests of the propertied rulers to maintain their repressive rule and divide and weaken working people. Your victory strengthens the struggle to expose and condemn the dehumanizing conditions millions in prison face, including the torture of solitary confinement you are all too familiar with, overcrowding, restrictions on freedom of speech and voting rights, and denial of needed medical attention.

Your victory strengthens the fight to free Native American leader Leonard Peltier; former Black Panthers Mumia Abu-Jamal in Pennsylvania, Ed Poindexter in Nebraska and Jalil Muntaqim in New York; Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond; and other political prisoners.

And it advances the fight against U.S. colonial rule of Puerto Rico at a time when the crisis of capitalism is crashing down with brutal force on the workers and farmers of the island. The U.S. rulers’ “fiscal control” board, acting to protect the profits of the bondholders, is imposing wage cuts, attacks on unions and gutting of social spending.

The Socialist Workers Party insists that workers in the U.S. can never be free as long as our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters are held in colonial bondage.

“United States imperialism, exploiting the masses within its national boundaries, at the same time and to an even greater degree, exploits the peoples of Latin and Central America, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Liberia, the Philippines,” the SWP declared at its founding convention in 1938. “These peoples are thus the potential allies of the American workers in the struggle against U.S. imperialism, and neither they nor the American workers can expect to win freedom except in joint combat against the common enemy.”

The Socialist Workers Party “stands for the immediate and unconditional independence of all the territories, colonies, and dependencies of the U.S. and for the withdrawal of all troops from them.”

But independence will never be granted, it must be taken!

As you have said, “For those of us who love justice and freedom, want a better and more just world free of colonialism and imperialism, revolutionary Cuba has been and will continue to be a beacon of hope and an example to emulate.” Under the leadership of Fidel Castro, Cuba’s workers and farmers have shown that, yes, it is possible to make and defend for over 50 years a socialist revolution under the nose of Yankee imperialism.

The Cuban people and their leadership worked continually to advance the international solidarity movement that helped win your freedom.

We will continue to tell the truth about the Cuban Revolution and the fight against Washington’s colonial domination of Puerto Rico. We are confident that here, in the belly of the imperialist monster, working people can unite to end forever the dictatorship of capital and extend the hand of solidarity to the peoples of the world.

Osborne Hart
Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of New York
Related articles:
Freedom for Oscar López! Release is set for May 17
López: Step up fight to end colonial rule in Puerto Rico
Step up fight to free Leonard Peltier!
NY prison authorities punish, move Jalil Muntaqim
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